Working from home may seem like a dream come true – at first. Then you start to get a little too comfortable (read: still in your pajamas) and realize being productive has never been so hard. But the show must go on, so you must figure out how to make this work like the true adult you are. Keep reading for some work-from-home tips from someone who is also doing it herself right now.
1. Get Ready for the Day Like Normal
Establishing a routine may help your productivity when you have to get ready like you would for a regular job. What helps me is setting an alarm for Monday through Friday. I get up, brush my teeth, do my morning skincare routine, then change out of my pajamas into something comfortable enough to work in but appropriate enough to leave the house in. Then, I open up my laptop on my dining room table, check emails and take care of some morning work before I make a small, quick breakfast. This is my normal routine when I get to the office anyway, so it’s nice to do this at home, too.
2. Avoid Working in Bed
This is very tempting and hard to convince yourself otherwise, I know. I’ve avoided working in my room altogether because my desk is right next to my bed. I chose my dining room table as my new office desk, and it helps because I get ample sunlight and plenty of space to work. This is just what works for me, so test out chairs, couches and rooms in your home to see what suits your style.
3. Take Real Breaks
For me, it’s almost more productive to work at home because I’ve created a space and schedule such that I have little to no distractions. The downside to that, however, is that I fall into a rabbit hole of work and before you know it, I’m going stir crazy. To combat this, I make sure to take advantage of time to make lunch, head out with my dog on a potty break or even just take a stroll up and down the block. Sunlight, fresh air and greenery work wonders. It helps a lot with encouraging the flow of new ideas and freshening up to tackle more business. If needed, set alarms throughout the day to remind yourself to take breaks.
4. Find a Space Where You’ll Be Productive
Some people want to blast music and are fueled by a stimulating environment. Others need peace and quiet in order to focus. Figure out what works best for you and find a space in your home that accommodates those needs. If you don’t have the space, create one on your dining room table or even coffee table. Consider pulling out a foldable table and making do with what you have.
5. Treat it Like a Real Workspace
Once you have your work area figured out, treat it like your real desk in the office. Your workspace shouldn’t have bills and mail scattered everywhere. Declutter to help you maintain your focus, at least for the hours you’re working there. Set up your monitors, have a cup of coffee handy, gather those extension cords – whatever you need to make it feel like the office.
6. Talk to Your Manager and Colleagues
Keeping a clear line of communication with your manager is key when you’re working from home more than usual. Hop on a video chat to set expectations and go over any concerns or obstacles you may be or anticipate facing. Having the support and understanding of your manager can ease a lot of anxiety surrounding working from home. Additionally, reach out to your colleagues regularly just to stay in touch. After all, they are your work family and maintaining contact with them will make the transition back to the office much smoother.
7. Sign Off!
Bringing your work home might be something that people discourage for many reasons, but when working from home is mandatory, it’s much easier to set boundaries to maintain a healthy balance. You don’t need to be logged on 24/7, and one of the reasons why I set alarms in the morning is so that I know when I started and when is an appropriate time to stop. Just make sure you get your work done!